Is Your Lawyer Assertive, or Just Aggressive?

4 September, 2009 by Lawrence in Representation style

Consider the following scenario:  You’ve been doing business with a company for a long time, but they’ve recently done something that you find upsetting.  Maybe they overcharged you, failed to deliver on time, wouldn’t stand behind their product, or something else.  A friend of yours offers to go talk to the customer service representative for you, and you agree since he’s got a reputation for being good at that kind of thing.

"You will not like me!"

"You will not like me!"

So you arrive at the customer service representative, and your representative launches into a loud tirade laced with profane insults at not only the company, but at the customer service person personally.  He finishes with a demand for immediate satisfaction unless the company wants to suffer rapid dire consequences.

Now, watching all this may make you feel pretty good, for a while.  After all, when you’re really angry and frustrated, a violent outburst may seem like a good idea.  However, has your friend really improved your situation much?  Has he made it more likely that the person listening to this outburst is going to go out of her way to help you with your problem?  Most likely, the answer is “no”.

In many ways, when a lawyer is representing a client he has to serve in the capacity of the customer service representative in the story above.  Believe me when I say I’ve had attorneys approach me in this way, and I always wonder if their client has any idea how they’re behaving and if they believe such behavior is really benefitting their case.

There are rules of ethics which govern the behavior of attorneys, and those rules require your lawyer to zealously represent your interests, they also require him to make reasonable efforts to resolve the matter quickly.

The vast majority of divorces end in an agreement between the parties.  These agreements are reached most quickly when the two attorneys, while diligently asserting their clients rights, behave like professionals who treat the opposing counsel and opposing party with at least a minimum of respect.  If you can see that your lawyer is becoming personally invested in your case, takes personal offense at the actions of your spouse or his counsel, and becomes unable to communicate with the other lawyer without using insults, threats, or other derogatory remarks, you may want to consider whether your counsel is really improving your situation, or if his judgment has become clouded by his own personal issues.

What are your thoughts about this?  Perhaps I’m wrong.  Maybe Sergeant Hartman (pictured above) would have made the perfect lawyer.  Let me know your thoughts as I’m interested in hearing what others think about this.

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